Native in Polish, fluent in English, German and French, Wojciech is a senior independent strategy consultant with over 21 years’ experience. With 7 years’ experience as an independent consultant, he spent 10 years working at A.T. Kearney and worked in industry up to the C-level. Wojciech has focused on business transformation from strategy to programme management and has gained experience across various industries. He has led consultant and client teams which achieved significant improvements - sales activation, cost reduction or business integration at companies with up to $50 billion yearly revenues.
We interviewed Wojciech to learn more about his commercial experience and achievements throughout his career.
Most recent project:
I was recently brought in to implement 12 new programme and project management processes for a large multi-year programme. My job was to organise the communication process between the programme management office and the project teams. However, when I joined the team I realised there were some gaps, for example, the relationships between the projects had not been fully defined. I could have simply implemented the processes based on the available incomplete inputs but instead I led the creation of a comprehensive set of relationships before implementing the processes. The project teams, when brought together, identified new key deliverables of the programme, modified significantly the programme schedule and changed external suppliers of some deliverables to keep the planned programme deadlines. I could have come in and completed the original project as planned but from my experience I could see there was a way for me to add greater value to the project which the client was extremely happy with and actually had a greater impact than originally planned.
What makes a project successful?
From my experience, a successful assignment requires both excellent know-how provided to the client and good communication with the client. I was working on a project with a client who expected great knowledge about programme and project management standards and who wanted to make a significant change to the business. The client had rejected the previous consulting team because they were offering detailed solutions based on what they implemented at previous clients rather than understanding the client's business and what was needed unique to the client. I started with general solutions based on best practices and discussed adjustments with the client team, demonstrating programme and project knowledge in discussions. The assignment was finished successfully and was an example of good cooperation with consultants.
Most significant accomplishment:
Companies sometimes overestimate their industry knowledge and their own efficiency. In a 4-month sales cost reduction project, it took me 10 days to collect industry benchmarks from 45 experts, determine the optimum workload for each sales area process and uncover a revenue and cost structure for all distribution partners. This enabled internal cost and sales commission reductions summing up to millions of Euro, which created significant competitive advantage.
Best bits of being a consultant?
Working as an independent consultant has enabled me to achieve significant improvements with small resources. I once did an assignment of process optimisation and partial outsourcing for a company belonging to an international group, the most profitable one in its industry. I knew little about the client’s industry at the time and it was my first assignment of that type. Moreover, the company functions to be optimised - production and production support - were the ones which consultants typically omit because they require specific knowledge. Owing to gathered best-practices in the industry and good communication with client managers, in about half a year I achieved a cost reduction exceeding the boards expectations. The results were supported by all client management levels. I was extremely proud of this achievement because the client had previously tried and been unsuccessfully with a 10-consultant team from a large renowned consulting company.
Why work with an independent consultant?
When hiring a senior independent consultant with experience from blue-chip strategy consulting firms, the client pays for proven ability to deliver significant impact in a defined period of time and with minimised workload needed from the client team. Consultants use advanced, proven approaches to increase revenues, decrease costs and streamline processes. The consultant is also more incentivised to keep deadlines than internal client teams because he or she is typically paid only for the pre-defined assignment time, so the assignment has to be finished on time. Finally, senior independent consultants tend to need less of the client’s time than larger teams consisting of junior consultants.
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